What should be in your HR Tech stack?

Our second presenter in our HR technology session last month was Richard Westney. Richard is a member of the APPNZ HR Advisory Panel and is an independent HR Consultant with over 25 years experience in HR roles across a range of sectors and organisation types. Richard blogs about all things HR, mentors young HR practitioners, runs the Wellington HR meetup group and was co-founder of the Summer of Biz internship programme for HR and marketing students which launched in 2017. Like Tim Scott, Richard has long been a social media nerd and you can find him on Twitter @hrmannz and his blog is at www.hrmannz.com.

Richard is also an HR technology geek and talked about the trends he sees in that area.

HR tech has changed quite considerably in the last ten years along with technology generally. From having a big single system that sat on your internal IT servers and did everything, there has been more of a change in recent years towards often lots of different cloud based SAAS (software as a service) systems.

Typically, HR technology should encompass all of the following for transformation HR to truly be enabled:

Tech Stack pic

Richard talked about any HR tech deployment being an opportunity to change our HR processes not simply automate them. Re-design your processes to make the most of the technology, streamline, simplify not just stick the solution in and keep doing things the same way.

Depending on the size and type of your organisation (not to say budget) there is a choice of the big enterprise systems versus best of breed software solutions. There are lots of pros and cons on both sides, but cloud-based tools obviously give you more flexibility in terms of contract length, cost, implementation. However, they are pretty much off the shelf and will often do one thing really well, rather than meet your broader HR needs.

UK HR blogger Neil Morrison has talked and written about the following drivers:


  • TRANSPARENCY is the increasing expectation from employees that they can see the workings of an organisation beyond their own personal experience. Whether that is of compensation, decision-making structures, or promotion opportunities – to name but a few.
  • CUSTOMISATION no single person is the same and we therefore need to create employee experiences that recognise the different choices that individual employees will want to take at different stages of their lives and careers. One size no longer fits all
  • EXPERIMENTATION we need to be more comfortable with being less perfect and in trying things out to see how and if they work. Whether it is data, technology or traditional interventions, we need to love and embrace the pilot. Test practice not best practice
  • ANALYSIS – data, data everywhere….and we need to start using it sensibly. We in HR need to use the data to underpin decisions, but use it in a practical and sensible way – not for show, but for real, purposeful thinking. Don’t bring emotion to the argument with leaders bring facts.


Richard talked a lot about data and how we should be using it in HR to capture a lot of what we can now access, make sense of it and use it in a way that we give our organisation a competitive advantage making your leaders really want the information you can provide to them.

There are many ethical considerations these days around personal information available online and how that is used, how various apps and algorithms and are tracking people and how that can be used. Richard’s advice was to use data on an aggregated basis not on a personal basis.

Richard concluded by asking us to think about the following questions:

  1. What is the block to HR people embracing and using technology? Why aren’t we using more?
  2. How can technology change managers’ roles in people management?
  3. How do we think HR technology could assist in positively changing behaviour in our organisations?

We’d love to her your thoughts on the questions above. Please feel free to post them here! If you’d like to be updated on APPNZ just click here.


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